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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Watching Dr. Kalam speak...

Note: As real as the stars and the sky. The words that are unquoted are as mine as my eyes.

The title looks strange because you generally 'hear someone speak' but trust me, it is apt. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was speaking at the silver jubilee celebration function of K J Somaiya college of engineering. I was watching him speak, awe-struck, enthused - staring at him without batting an eyelid.


Three years ago, I was standing outside the gate of the President's mansion - Dr. Kalam was the President then. I saw the beautiful house in all its glory through the gate standing truly like the King of the Country it was - closely guarded physically but free for everyone who wanted to be in awe of it. I had gone breathless back then...


And I was breathless now again. Innumerous mails are circulated on the internet about Dr. Kalam's inspiring speeches - today I was going to hear this highly revered Indian live. Dr. Kalam arrived and spoke.

I stared at the thumb-tall image of Dr. Kalam that I saw in front of my eyes against the backdrop of the carnations. He interacted with the audience - asking the students to repeat an oath that he wanted them to take on the occasion, the audience repeated in almost a trance.

His complete speech can be read at his website : http://www.abdulkalam.com/kalam/jsp/display_content.jsp?menuid=28&menuname=Speeches%20/%20Lectures&linkid=68&linkname=Recent&content=1348&columnno=0&starts=0&menu_image=7


The focus of his speech was clearly the youth - the young engineering students. He said that it was integrated efforts by engineers of different faculties that was essential to the nation. The contribution of these engineers together would lead to 'connectivity', he said - physical connectivity, communication connectivity, knowledge connectivity.. and hence, economic connectivity.

I observed a subtle fact that came out from his speech. It all needs to start from a united effort to lead to unity in the knowledge-divide between different parts of the country. Unity leads to Unity...


I still remember the way he signalled the audience to be seated when they stood up in applause when he climbed the dais. Through the silver hair, small eyes and a broad smile, I saw a great man with the expression of gratitude and humility exuding from his face along with the aura of knowledge, achievement and more importantly, purity that arises only from a noble heart.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Note: First-person account of a rainy evening

The dark sky blinked twice. A crack appeared on the surface of the sky in the form of a lightening and the sky tore into pieces as it started raining. It was as if the dark night had turned into day for a second...

... Like a dream that becomes real only to shatter into pieces few moments later.

My eyes grew larger as I saw the lightening. I looked at the sky, the skyscraper in front of me looked as lifeless as a photograph when the lightening shone on it....

The light struck my face again and I felt I was under the spotlight for two seconds.. Many of us are, as it is, waiting to be under the spotlight - even if it is for two seconds.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Love thy neighbour

Note: Not completely imaginary, not completely real.

Vijaya sat on the sofa as Shalini got her some tea. Vijaya smiled and took a sip.

"Aah, it's the same taste, Patelbhabhi", Vijaya said. Shalini smiled in reply.

Ten-year old Jignesh peeped through the door from behind the curtain.

"Arre.. Jignesh, come here!!", Vijaya said.

Jignesh was only waiting for the call. He ran towards Vijaya and hugged her nearly spilling her tea on her sari...

"Jignesh!", Shalini scolded him, "Did you see what you did? Did you have to come running like that? Go inside and sit!"

Jignesh interrupted, "But Baa, I want to talk to Kulkarnikaku..."

"Go inside, I say...", Shalini shouted. Vijaya adjusted her fingers that were wrapped around the cup.

"Uhh.. sorry, Kulkarnivahini.. did he spill the tea?", Shalini mellowed down.

Vijaya nodded and took another sip. In the fumes rising from the tea, she remembered the days. Jignesh had come home one day with high fever. When he saw that his mother Shalini was out to a relative's place, he came to Vijaya. Vijaya had looked after him for nearly four hours before deciding to take him to a hospital where he was admitted.

Vijaya remembered standing in her balcony and talking to Shalini who would be in hers. They would talk for hours - about TV serials, about elections, about recipes for different types of cakes. In fact, Shalini was the first person in whom Vijaya had confided about Vishakha. Vijaya's daughter, Vishakha was in love. The love was unacceptable, if not blasphemous, for the people in the locality.

Vishakha's love was not discussed in public but hushed-hushed about in private. Vijaya's husband and her could not take the way the neighbourhood looked at them - they moved out to another place.

Vijaya came back to the present. She was staring into the cup now. The love that the neighbourhood had for her family had condensed - like the now-cold tea with a layer of condensed milk floating on the top...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dil Bole Hadippa - Movie Review

What do you get when you mix tomato sauce with strawberry jelly, add oregano seasoning and whip it adding coconut water spoon by spoon? A disaster similar to 'Dil bole hadippa'...

The screenplay heavily borrows from a lot of films making it tasteless like the recipe I just mentioned. The bad part is - the film does not convince you in any way:
  1. Why is the movie called 'Dil bole Hadippa'? Convince me with your answer and I give you my left ear. Shouldn't titles have some context in the movie?
  2. Shahid Kapoor's initial scenes with the cricket team remind you of Shahrukh Khan in Chak de India. Just that Shahid is way too expressionless and dumb.
  3. Shahid conducts the team selection only because his father is the owner of the cricket team. (And Aaditya (Joshi, not Chopra, duh!) visualizes Uday Chopra conducting auditions for the film.)
  4. Rani dressing up as a man, Shahid recognizing her just before the climax - is all 'Rab ne bana di jodi' with gender reversed.
  5. The stressed relationship between Shahid Kapoor's parents reminds you of 'Hum Tum''s Rishi Kapoor and Rati Agnihotri.
  6. Shahid hams. He looks ugly in the romantic scenes with Rani and like a hungry goat in the funny scenes. Dahling, waxing karwane ke saath saath thode acting lessons bhi le lete...
  7. 'Aman cup'....!!! What next?? 'Varma Saucer'???
  8. Rani's Senti bhashan at the end is just not convincing! ( I am all for women empowerment ofcourse. But, the bhashan is ...boring!) It was highly predictable by the way - I was able to complete nearly all her sentences. Get real, get new, Chopra ji.
  9. I raise STRONG OBJECTION to the Punjabi used in the movie. How are people trying to watch a Hindi film expected to understand so much Punjabi?
There are two things and only two things that work for the film - Rani Mukherjee and the slickly canned song as the end credits roll. The song was widely used in the promotion of the film too and I am not surprised. Rani Mukherjee is very good, extremely entertaining. There is nothing specifically noticeable about the movie, otherwise.

Overall, not just thumbs, but all five fingers of my hand down... Buhoo!!

Dhundiraj Govind

Disclaimer: This style of writing has been inspired from a short story I read few months ago. Real-world incidents from history are elaborated to form a story. So, this blogpost is true in terms of historical references, imaginary in terms of the descriptions.

We are in the first decade of the twentieth century - nearly hundred years back in time. He walks into a tent theatre in Germany. He is neatly dressed in a clean white shirt, white pants and shoes of the same colour. He is wearing a navy blue waistcoat made by the tailor down the street. The tailor specializes in stitching velvet clothes.

He buys a ticket for the film 'The Life of Christ'. He looks at the poster, he realizes that the lettering is not uniform. He smirks at the lack of detailing. He knows about the intricacies of typography - because that is one of the many occupations he has embraced in his life.

He has been a businessman in the true sense of the word. Born in a small village back in Maharashtra, India, He started off as a photographer, then moved to being a draftsman in a company. After he realized that the constraints of a job did not suit him, he set up a printing press of his own. Now, he was in Germany to acquire the technology to better the quality of printing his firm came up with.

As the images of the Christ's life moved on the curtain, a hundred thoughts crowd in his mind. As the Christ walks with the cross, he sees the audience in a state of enthrall. He can certainly imagine a similar situation in his country when people would see their religious figures moving before their eyes.

He returned back to India and made a major decision - he wanted to make a movie on Hindu mythological characters. This was a decision that would change not only his life but also lead to the genesis of an industry for India.

Through his first silent film, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, better known as Dadasaheb Phalke gave India its now-prosperous film industry. The silent film was truly a silent revolution in the history of India...


Friday, September 11, 2009

Sheela, Pinky & Happy Birthday

Shambhuji was the attendant-cum-sweeper-cum-peon-cum-nurse at the village school. He looked at the old wall clock which one of the trustees had gifted the school years ago after the trustee's son passed SSC at the district school. Shambuji got up and rang the huge brass bell kept at the centre of the foyer. There was a flood of kids of different ages that ran out of the school. The running was accompanied by jubilant cries and gushing laughter.

As Sheela walked out of the school with Pinky, she said to her, "My brother had his happy birthday yesterday. Mummy bought a cake. Then we put some candles on it. Many of my brother's friends had come. They all played cricket in the backyard while I helped mom make some spicy puris for them. It was so much fun."

Pinky said, "Hmm. My neighbour's son had his birthday last week. They had decorated the house with lights and had a party for all their relatives and us, their neighbours. There was kulfi, there was cake, they had everything!"

Sheela said, "When do you have your happy birthday?"

Pinky replied, "I... don't know."

Sheela's face had a 'I-knew-it' expression, "Aah! Even I don't have a happy birthday...Pooja and Ramya also don't have a happy birthday."

Pinky, the wiser one among the two said, "Maybe, girls don't have a happy birthday!"

Sheela exclaimed once again, "Aah!". Now she knew why Pinky topped all the exams, she was so wise!!


Pinky dropped out of school the next year. Sheela's parents sent her to a girls' school at the taluka level.

When Sheela went to submit her SSC form that her father had filled for her, she saw the Birthdate column... '20th July, 1987'.

She had a happy birthday! "Pinky wasn't as wise as I thought", Sheela thought as she handed the form to her teacher.

In her mind, she laughed at Pinky for being so unwise. The gender-based discrimination that had been going on in her family touched her thoughts nowhere ..

Monday, September 07, 2009

Yoko's versus Jughead's

Note: A Food Review. The foodie that I am, reviewing eating places comes naturally to me. :-)

I am talking specifically about Yoko's Sizzlers, Hiranandani Powai and Jughead's, Powai. Having visited both the places several times (and spent a lot of money there), I think I have the right to give my opinion.

Disclaimer (How can I miss a disclaimer before a post): I am biased towards Jugheads. It will anyways be evident from the description.


Jughead's is located off the highway near Powai police station. Location-wise, it's rather odd to access - out of the way as such. Yoko's is right in the middle of the crowded Galleria adjacent to Mocha. Quite a cool location to have procured.

Interiors and the ambience:

Jughead's has a 'young' feel with the comic strips on the walls and the ceiling. (I have once read through them twisting my neck in all directions..) I particularly love the huge 'burger' that adorns the wall from the outside. The glass wall on one side makes the area look larger - but what you see is a crowded highway. So, hardly any 'view' there.

Yoko's does not really have an ambience that you would remember. It's a typical place with some Chinese touch to the interiors.

The Loo :

(Important factor for me. :-p)
Jughead's only has standing urinals for the men which is like OMG. The washroom at Yoko's is absolutely small - you stand and pee then simply rotate through 90 degrees to wash your hands. Another 90 degrees and you are facing the door on your way out. The rustic feel must be saving the maintenance expenses.


The attendants at Jughead's are more courteous than Yoko's. Jughead's does not have a waiting area which Yoko's does. However, I have never had to wait the ten-fifteen times that I have been to Jughead's.


1) Sizzlers: Both the places are known for sizzlers. A sizzler at Yoko's is like my room at times with piles of clothes and books on the top of each other. The sizzler has a big mound of noodles on the top of rice and then the gravy. The fries are jetting out from one corner of this mass. It's like one big mix-up you see! I fondly call Yoko's sizzlers 'Yoko's Bhel' for this very reason. A sizzler at Jughead's is less in quantity, however, the platter is arranged in a neat fashion - things aren't really lying on the top of one another. That makes it easier and more pleasant to eat than Yoko's.

2) Pizza: Both the places serve pizzas at cheap rates (as compared to the pizza joints). Pizza at Yoko's is better than Jughead's. Obviously, the pizzas are no match to the 'pizza speciality' places. I love the prawns pizza at Jughead's.

3) Side orders: Comparable. Almost equal as such.

4) Pricing: Yoko's prices its sizzlers at a rate higher than Jughead's. But they 'sizzle out' thirty seconds after they arrive on your table. Now that's such a Boo-Boo, Yoko ji. A vegetarian sizzler is priced at Rs. 315 in Yoko's while it is Rs. 200 on an average in Jughead's.

On the whole, Juggu-dada beats Yoko ji by a big margin....

Friday, September 04, 2009

Chairs in the Rain

Credit: I saw a photograph in a friend, Balamurali's orkut album and got the idea of writing this post. He had taken that snap. Photographs do speak a thousand words!

The water on the floor of the terrace makes a rather slow swooshing sound as it flows to the corner of the terrace, thanks to the slope of the terrace. This sound is that of a slow snake moving over a muddy ground making a swoosh due to the moisture in the ground. The rain drops hit the floor like a thousand bullets right on the target. Their sound is the one dominating the scene.

Somewhere, a drop of water falls from the leaky tap right onto the floor making its own small sound. The tap knows it will never beat the rain in the amount of sound it is making - but it keeps trying.

Wait, there is a rat-a-tat too... It is the rain water falling on a metallic surface. Oh yes, there are two metallic chairs on the terrace. The chairs are stuck to one another as if they are holding hands and watching the rain...

An old lady appears from the dark door with an umbrella. She sits on one of the chairs not caring about the wet seat... In the dark of the night, when the moonlight touches the shiny tiles on the terrace, the water and the floor of the terrace shines like the surface of the moon itself.

Like an arrow that cuts through air, like a fish that pierces through water, a sound mounts itself over and above this medley of sounds. She is singing a Hindi song. It is a song of longing.

She has a melodious voice and when she sings, the sound of the rain, the water and the leaky tap seem to have faded. Like the clouds that fill the sky in no time, her song has now filled the air. The thin waves of water on the terrace slow down as the waves of her voice speed through the darkness of the night.

The night hears in silence the song of a lady while the rain drops hit the empty chair adjacent to her....

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Kaminey - Movie Review

H1N1 flu is a pakka 'suwar'. (It is only a matter of coincidence that it is caused by the suwars aka the swine.) The release of this movie got delayed due to the 'shutdown', then I was scared to go to a theatre and watch the movie and when I did, the following week I was too busy to write a review. Albeit late, here it is - the Kaminey movie review...

Question One: This question, everybody seems to be asking - Is it like a Tarantino movie? ...
Answer: Kiske baaaap ko pata hai ki Tarantino movie kya hota hai... I haven't seen any of his/her movies, so I wouldn't comment.

Question Two: Whose performance stands out?
Answer: Undoubtedly, it is among the very few movies where the collective performance by the ensemble stands out. In movies like these, the heroines are reduced to glam dolls in bikinis (or less.). Priyanka Chopra is superb in that sense. She deserves an applause for the accuracy of the Marathi accent. She, thankfully, does NOT overdo it the way other Hindi movies of the past have.

Question Three: Songs?
Answer: "Dhan te nan" is THE song. It is a treat to watch the song on the screen. "Fatak" is a very different song too... Who has heard of AIDS awareness in a Hindi film song!

Amidst all the 'Chudiyaan', 'Kangana', 'Hiriye', 'Makhnaa's that I have listened to, the songs of Kaminey are very nice.. very different.. very slickly canned.

Question Four: Fahid ke baare mein bolo yaar....
Answer: Shahid plays two characters - one of them stammers, the other has a lisp in the film and this, by now, is known to the bachha-bachha of India. So... Fahid looks very good in the movie - both as Charlie the gangster and Guddu the bholuchand. He's acted well. He is better as the gangster than the bholuchand - but that may be because the gangster is more aggressive than the bholuchand.

Question Five : Dialogues?
Answer: There are so many 'F' words in the film - by 'F' words, I mean the wordf where Fahid replacef 'f' with 'f'. :-p. There are fun to hear. There is an above-average usage of Marathi and Bengali - but both the languages are sweet to hear.

Question Six (or 'Fix'.) : Overall verdict?
Answer: Not worth the hype - not worth the craze with which people are 'lifping' on their facebook status messages. The movie is entertaining nevertheless...